Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Simple Things in Life

The raw materials!
Recently I've embarked on a jam & chutney making adventure which has seen me produce enough preserves to gain entry to the WI hall of fame.  This new venture has been driven by two things: a surfeit of fruit in the garden and a need to ecconomise.  I invested very modestly in a couple of bits of kit and a book and dove right in - turns out jam making's not too tricky, it's all about prepping your fruit correctly and getting to grips with the "rolling boil".  For a first timer I'm impressed with the results and Steve even gave me 8/10 for my marmalade!  A few days break and then back for a batch of damson & apple jam methinks.  Fun though it is I can't believe people describe this as the simple life - surely it's far simpler to buy a jar of jam from Sainsburys?

We've been off waterfall hunting again, though this time everything was a little less soggy!  Two gorgeous falls near Elterwater - a stunning though soulless village to the west of Ambleside.  Stunning because in every direction loomed imposing fells and soulless because almost every house appeared to be a holiday let with a sign on the gate imploring you to book.  On the day we went the pub was bustling, but that was on a warm(ish), dry Sunday afternoon, in the dead of winter I should imagine the village is deserted with no local community to keep the place alive.  I appreciate the fact that tourism is the industry up here but it just seems so sad to see a stunning village turned into little more than a holiday park.

At the top of Colwith Falls
The other thing we noticed was how most tourists only ever seem to venture around 10 minutes away from their cars.  Last weekend we saw two waterfalls, Colwith Falls which were 30 mins walk from the nearest car park, truly breathtaking and utterly deserted.  Next stop was Skelwith falls, very lovely, far less dramatic but right next to a road and therefore lots of other visitors.  At least it means that if you're prepared to put some effort in then you can find peace & beauty even in the height of tourist season as everyone else will be busy shuttling between the pub and the nearest car park.

Wishing tree near Colwith Falls
Talking of holidays we've got a week off work & have our sights set on the northern fells.  In a moment I shall be cooking up a storm in the kitchen to ready us for a haul up Skiddaw, and I shall be most grumpy if I don't make it to Wasdale Head this week too.  With all the waterfall hunting it's been a while since we went up anything big so our legs may be in for a bit of a shock, but it's a great excuse to scoff bacon & egg sarnies for brekkie, wonderful to eat though messy to cook.  Hmmm - I wonder if I could simplify things and just make "Bacon & Egg jam"? I'm not sure how it would taste but I guess Heston would be impressed.  Maybe for now I'll stick with the old fashioned approach.  Skiddaw, here we come!